PGI.S PLAYER SPOTLIGHT: SPARKINGG FROM META GAMING
The PUBG Global Invitational.S has assembled many of the game’s greatest players into one lobby in order to determine the strongest team over a six-week festival of PUBG Esports. For loyal fans, particularly those who have followed previous global events such as the PUBG Classics and last season’s PUBG Global Championship, there is a considerable number of familiar faces participating in this event. A smaller portion of the players who have gathered in South Korea made their international debut at this event, introducing themselves to the broader fanbase that may not have caught each regional tournament last season. While PGI.S may not be the first offline event for Pedro “sparkingg” Miquel, his popularity and reputation amongst fans and fellow competitors have only increased since touching down in Seoul.
Representing one of only two teams from the Latin America region, sparkingg leads Meta Gaming into the team’s toughest challenge to date. They enter PGI.S on the heels of a successful run through numerous LATAM tournaments during 2020, and most recently, a third-place finish in the DreamHack Winter Showdown. In those Finals, sparkingg was a top-ten player in total kills and third overall in damage dealt. On several occasions, he made impressive plays and it was apparent that sparkingg would be a name we heard more of as the year proceeds. This event became the wake-up call for anyone who hadn't yet taken notice, sparkingg was one of the strongest players in the lobby and his performance left an impression.
The placement came within a lobby that included a few of Meta Gaming's newest rivals following the announcement that when the PUBG Continental Series returns after this event, NA and LATAM will unite to form the Americas region. So for our North American PUBG Esports fans, you will certainly be hearing a lot more about sparkingg, Meta Gaming, and the talented squads entering the fray from the LATAM region. Their top-three performance within that lobby, featuring a couple of teams they are currently sharing the stage with at PGI.S, has reinforced the positive outlook on a team with clear potential. Receiving his fair share of admiration from the fans, analysts, and fellow players that have watched him play, sparkingg has set himself for a breakout performance while competing on the big stage.
After Meta Gaming’s impressive performance in the Winter Showdown, it was tough to ignore the team’s talented roster heading into PGI.S led by sparkingg. The team began PGI.S with a challenging start in Rank Decision, placing the team behind schedule to secure a spot in the first Weekly Final. They entered the Bottom 16 matches and weren’t quite the same team we expected to see prior to the start of this event. So, with minimal opportunities to secure a Chicken Dinner and advance into the final, Meta would return to the Bottom 16 matches in Week 2, however, this time they would maximize their number of chances for Weekly Survival 3.
"The biggest surprise has been playing the new Weekly Survival format. But I am also really surprised by the stage and the overall production from PUBG, it's been excellent."
Over the first three weeks of play, we’ve watched Meta Gaming improve each day. sparkingg has already provided us with several highlights that show why he’s one of the most exciting players to watch at PGI.S. Whether it was his lone stand to fend off numerous players during Week One, or his role in the team's dominant race through the Bottom 16 matches, sparkingg has been turning heads since the start of this event. While the team begins to organize themselves and look ahead to the second half of this event, I expect we’re in for more impressive individual plays from sparkingg, and better placements for Meta Gaming altogether.
Perhaps the most impressive play from sparkingg at PGI.S so far was his solo-defense from inside a building in a strong position on Sosnovka Island. With a single member of Zenith Esports inside the building and all four members of LG Devine crashing onto him, sparkingg miraculously fends off the full-team push and eliminates the lone player inside. This play also showcased sparkingg's ability to win close-quarter fights and work with the utility and cover he has at his disposal. It's been a signature highlight for him at PGI.S now, but I'm expecting even more of these plays in the near future.
Despite the additional opportunities earned from the team’s hard-fought run through the Bottom 16 matches, Meta Gaming failed to secure a victory over a fifteen-game series in Weekly Survival 3.
"The first problem was our communication because my teammates had never played while communicating in English before. We are starting to get used to it and now we're trying to play like a chameleon, ready to adapt to any situation, any format, and any lobby."
This meant the team would move into their third consecutive Bottom 16 series, where the team once again dominated the lobby and finished in first. Of the eight games played among the bottom sixteen teams from Weekly Survival 3, Meta Gaming won three matches. And they aren’t just winning rounds, they are collecting masses of kills. The average point total of the first-place team in the last two Bottom 16 series has been around seventy points after eight games - Meta Gaming collected 110 this past week! And at the forefront of Meta’s performance is sparkingg, who compiled a 3.83 KD over these matches and over 4,000 damage dealt. His play alongside his teammates SzylzEN, Ragnar, and WICK2D have earned the team another fifteen matches to secure a chicken dinner in Weekly Survival 4.
"The PGI.S format makes this event feel like one from three years ago. Everything has changed so it's hard to play like this because we were used to playing SUPER settings for so long. Every team has to change a lot about their play style."
The team will be playing in this week's Survival Tournament, a break from the Weekly Survival and Weekly Final format we've enjoyed through the first three weeks. I can't imagine the team will be able to take away too much from a one-off show match that's being played in the Third-Person Perspective, but if they needed it, this week will provide the team with a break and chance to reset before jumping back into the action in Week 4.
The constant grind of PGI.S has already been mentioned by other players, and the stress of securing a win during survival is only scaling for those who haven't advanced yet. Meta Gaming has proven they're more than capable of winning in this lobby, but they haven't been able to do it when it matters most. With a week to reset and look ahead to Week 4, I feel Meta Gaming will advance into the team's first Weekly Final after securing a Chicken Dinner during the survival matches.